Creating the Guest Experience on a Multi-Sensory Level

By Richard Graham General Manager, The Fontaine | April 15, 2018

Standing out amongst the noisy boutique hotel scene has become a challenge for many hotels in recent years. While our property is no exception, our management company (Pivot Hotels) constantly promotes creativity and strives to create a unique brand that will separate us from the rest. Pivot's core values are built around embracing people's creativity and "celebrating our inner weird," which makes for opportunities to build memorable moments with guests daily, ultimately reminding us of why we joined the hospitality industry in the first place.  

With the experiential travel trend at its peak and here to stay, offering guests more than just a place to rest their head is crucial to prosper as a boutique hotel. Creating personalized guest experiences is an effective way to ensure guests are left with a lasting impression representative of the hotel's brand and identity. From service to hotel culture, the guest's stay needs to be a cohesive, seamless experience from arrival to checkout.

Empowering Guests through Experiences

Travel today is all about experience. Guests are willing to go out of their way, bypass loyalty programs and spend more to have personalized experiences. Most people now expect every touchpoint to offer an interesting and enriching experience, and travel is no exception. The term "experience economy" was first coined by the Harvard Business Review in 1998 when they sought out an explanation for the desire for memories as products. Consumers in general are moving steadily toward experience-based consumption, in which they would rather indulge on life experiences than material things.

The "local" experience is becoming far more important to travelers than being a tourist. Travelers want to do what the locals do and embrace all a destination has to offer, and this includes the hotel. Authenticity is key and allowing the guest to shape their own stay while still providing them with warm hospitality creates a well-received balance by the experiential traveler. Giving the guest a stay that is both memorable and comfortable requires each and every detail to be a step above the rest in order to really stand out and create a lasting impression. Travelers have become much more than tourists and they can expect a hotel that reflects that. Giving them a feeling of comfort while still creating experiences that allow them to step out of their comfort zone is what can harmonize the stay. Many travelers will bypass standard offerings and programs in favor of an experience that propels them forward or enriches them as individuals.

The independent-minded traveler is also looking for a sense of customizability in their travel choices. A personalized hotel experience is far from a new concept but giving guests the chance to feel as if they are in control of their own experience is an invaluable asset in hotel business.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.